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Black Block Perspective on Boston o3
04 Oct 2000
The black block at o3 was quite effective given it's numbers, and contrary to the claims of some, provided crucial assistance to demonstrators at several times, despite having to endure interference and insults from some groups of protestors
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mis-guided comments
04 Oct 2000
I was told by 5, count 'em 5, non black-bloc, NADER supporting protesters that I should take off my "mask" and stop hiding. I'm sure though, none of them were taking part in any of the direct action. Their comments reminded of the teamsters similar ignorance, earlier in the night.
Thank you
04 Oct 2000
First, thanks to the Black Bloc for their continued efforts. Although I am not a BB member, and I do not use the more Direct of the direct actions myself, I understand your desire to up the ante to the status quo. And I certainly respect your courage. I've been on the front lines, and it is scary.

It's probably impossible to not take the attacks on the BB from some of the Nader folks seriously. I'm sure I'd be angry and disappointed if I were you. But please give them some slack if you can. They are subjected to the same corporate media nonsense as the rest of the population, and you know what lies have been dished up out there about the BB and about the movement in general. This may have been the first serious protest for most of them.

How to break through the lies? Maybe some of your actions showed the way.

And I hope you won't let the actions of SOME Naderites distract you from the tremendous good the Nader campaign is doing. We must work from inside and outside the system to make real change. Nader is the inside game--and even without the debates (let's keep fighting for him!), he is getting big parts of our vital message out to millions.
Tolerance does not mean acceptance
04 Oct 2000
It really disheartened me to hear and see all of the hostility toward the black bloc.

I'm not an anarchist. In fact, I believe in nonviolence. (Don't confuse that with pacifism though).

But, something that I have noticed on more than one occasion is that no matter what happens, the black bloc has your back. And that's important to know, especially when risking arrest or putting yourself in harm's way.

As a nonviolent protestor, I would like to extend a warm "thank you" to the black bloc. Every movement needs an element of militancy. While I may not be up to that role, I am grateful that the black bloc is there.

We may not agree on political ideologies or protest tactics. But that's material for discussion over a cup of hot chocolate, NOT in the middle of a mass action.
Infiltration of Black Block and Others
04 Oct 2000
The B-C Greens and many other social libertarians respect the political-economic views of many of the Black Block participants.

Unfortunately, the Black Block is easily and obviously infiltrated and manipulated by the corporate government to divide-and-conquer the pro-democracy movement and to slant public opinion against protesters.

Being a participant of the Black Block must be fun, with the adrenaline rush and all, but it's strategically counter-productive to the pro-democracy movement - unless you're working for the police state.

Of course, the Black Block is not alone in being manipulated for the ends of corporate fascism. Even the Green Party and the IMC, particularly in Boston, have been infiltrated and manipulated to marginalize the pro-democracy movement.

If you're working for Exxon and the World Bank, stay in the Black Block. If you're working for democracy, grow up a bit and study COINTELPRO.

See also:
Black Bloc Takeover of University Drive
04 Oct 2000
I was present when the Black Bloc finally broke down the barricades and took the street, as mentioned above. After several attempts to break down the barricades had failed, there was a meeting to discuss what kind of direct action should be taken. A large consideration was the apprant media balckout of the event, and during the discussion, people with cell phones were calling the media to inform them that an action was going to be taken.
People met and there was a consensus on the plan that people should link arms and go over a less-policed area of the barricades, then sit in the streets. The people participating in this action were under the assumption that they would be arrested, and a consensus against jail solidarity was decided upon. A sheet of paper was passed with the names of those participating.
At this point, my group decided not to participate in this action, but to move to the sides of the barricades and see what transpired.
The group was successful in passing the barricade and sitting in the streets. Though there were many cops there, it seemed that only the few along the barricade nearby and several mounted police approached those sitting. The cops at the portion of the barricade where my friends and I were standing had left, and we quickly decided to take down the barricades.
We attempted to push them forward into the streets, but there was a tree in the way. Instead we pulled them back until they came apart and the barricades were broken. At first only a few people went into the street, several went to the group sitting down in attempts to unarrest them and to distract the police in general. Surprisingly few officers on foot were in the area, perhaps only 15, though there were many mounted police and many many cops at a part of the barricades not very far away.
We saw that the mounted officers were most detrimental to our action, and decided to pick up the barricades from the grass behind where we had first moved them, and bring them into the streets to protect ourselves and ensure that our hold on the street was not lost.
This was done very quickly and efficiently, and we succeeded in keeping our position in the street as well as penning the police into a rather small area.This entire action lasted about ten minutes--from the first march into the street to the faceoff with the police that ensued--and due to the mass confusion, I don't know what was going on at the other end of our barricade, though several people took up the acion of stealing barricades and setting them up for our protection further down the street. I heard that some arrests were made during this action, and there were many calls for medics.
I also heard that people at the other two exits heard that we successfully took the exit and were attempting to follow the lead by stealing barricades, but that it was unsuccessful, and many people were maced. People attempted to move extra barricades to these other locations, but they were too heavy to be moved quickly enough, and these people were stopped.
As we were grabbing the barricades, many people thanked the officers for letting us borrow them. There were a line of officers behind 5 barricades that bloc memebers were trying to move elsewhere, but the lack of resistance from the popo, followed by an officer removing a plastic strip connecting the barricades caused them to stop and try to help out with a different action. When the police are helping you out, you probably want to stop and do something else.
After our barricade was set up, many people sat down in front of it and some people were on the police side. However, it wasn't long before the police got organized and moved forward up to the barricades. There was a call for more people to help protect our position, but in the confusion and move to attempt to secure the other exits, many people were lost. It seemed that our numbers were no longer much higher than those of the police. We held our ground, but when calls for more barricades to be used at other locations were heard, we moved out barricades back, so as to free up some. There was a general standoff for some time, but it seemed that no more would happen, and that we had lost too many, and decided to march from the site in solidarity.
It was a small success, taking one of the exits, using the police materials against them, but one that I am proud of. I don't know how much we succeeded in our atempts at media attention, the only info I've heard is that it was covered, though not largely so, on several stations, as a "violent protest" with "protesters attcking police officers" which, from what I saw, mostly was just not true.
In comment to the bit about the nonviolent protesters, besides attempts at peaceable action and callings of "don't throw shit," it seemed a cooperative effort, with the more extreme protesters leading the efforts, and the pacifists helping almost immediately after. That is just what I observed.
I can't help laughing
04 Oct 2000
I totally agree with "Icouldbeyou" on that ideas and protest tactics need to be discussed in scenarios other than demonstrations, and I think we should all agree that we are, if not in the end at least for the moment and foreseable future, allies, and as such try to maintain a dialogue so that we may work together.
However, I am sure that we all agree that short of turning people over to cops, there is nothing more despicable than accusing people of being state agents, infiltrated, etc. Especially with absolutely no proof of any form further than, "we disagree with you and some people are scared of you, hence you must be with the other side."
Good job BC Green. Good thing most Greens aren't like you.
Oh and by the way, speaking of reading up, you may want to read up on the German autonomous and antifa movements, from which the Black block draws a lot, they have been over the last 15 years or so the most consistent threat to state power and right wings groups in Germany.

Remember, I couldn't care less about your democracy. My goal is the stateless, classless society, and a true workers democracy, and we get there through organization (unions, communities, etc.) and class warfare.
Anarchy, non-violence, pacifism, etc...
05 Oct 2000
"Icouldbeyou", I'd like to clear up a few things for you. The majority of anarchists are tactically non-violent. We choose non-violent tactics, and largely, a non-violent revolution. It's about resistance. We sieze the land and the workplaces because that is where we live and work. We simply stop listening to bosses' orders, and act for ourselves in a directly democratic fashion. Tax revolts, rent revolts, general strikes... all very non-violent as tactics.

The violence comes in from self-defense. Once workers have a general strike, and when they move from just stopping-work to occupation and expropiation (and somtimes before), the capitalists have the state come beat us up and kill us. That's the history of workers' struggle. Hell, it's the history of most populist struggles. However, maintaining that we have an inalienable right to self-defense does not mean that we don't wish to use non-violent tactics.

Pacifism, is something else entirely. The only folks who can really be pacifists, are anarchists. Why?
Well, if you are truly a pacifist, then you would oppose the violence the state is based upon. If your not an anarchist, you passively accept the violence of the state to some degree. Perhaps anarchist-pacifists have the morally high ground over anarchists (and everybody else!) who aren't pacifists... but most of us can't stand by and not use appropiate force to stop agression. Maybe we are weak in or convictions, or maybe we don't have a religion or spiritual faith that has some great levelling after death. We don't want to be martyrs. Those pacifist anarchists have our respect, even if we don't agree with them.

But an ideology of pacifism for a political movement against violent opponents is suicide.

As to the Boston-Cambridge-Greens, are you speaking in offical capacity of your organization?
We already live in a police-state. 2 million of us are behind bars. Protests are now generally met with mass arrests, excessive violence, heavy surveillance, and mutiple violation of constitutional rights.

Sure, anybody can put on a black mask. There are police provocteurs caught on tape in Prague. But anyone can join the Green party too. COINTELPRO is mostly about getting the movements to fight amongst themselves... than "discredit is us in the media".

Democratic movements have always had some violence in them. As far as that goes, democratic movements have tended to be MORE violent than specifically anarchist ones. Anarchists like democratic process, because it's a far less hierarchial than dictatorship... but we think it can be improved upon.

Black Block is just a tactic.
See also:
where's the politics?
05 Oct 2000
Black Bloc is all well and good. Tearing down barricades to assert our right to assemble wherever we damn will please is also good. But where's the politics? Why were anarchists there in the first place? Why would you allow yourselves to be used as a battering ram for a capitalist politician like Ralph Nader? Did the anarchists have any leaflets explaining an anarchist perspective on the whole electoral circus? Comrades, propadanda of the deed is useless without propaganda of the word! I hope a participant in the Block will attempt to answer these questions.

We also need to be a little more thoughtful. Here in Chicago on S26 a group of anarchist comrades organized a demo at Niketown. They were planning on burning some commodities as a demonstration against consumerism. Anyway, they never got a chance. Some of them made the mistake of masking up and were immediately busted by the pigs on a bogus charge of "wearing a mask". My point is that the comrades should have been able to size-up the situation and realize that they stuck out like a sore thumb in that crowd of, probably, 100 folks. My point is that it's probably not a good idea to wear a mask if you're not in a bloc that can protect you. Also they didn't bother to create a leaflet explaining what the demo was about. Once again, we have to spread the Word, comrades.
Social change comes from the base
04 Apr 2001
This'll go in the same sense as Irva da naile. How can we change a society that tends towards social canibalism if we participate in this same canibalism by eating each other. No mather what you may think, those cops you guys are fighting are a part of our society. This does not excuse their behavior, but the goal of true social change is to get those guys to start thinking as human beings and join our struggle. Because for now they get general approbation for 'defending the population against nasty and violent anarchists'.
Anarchy cannot be forcibly imposed! It's contradictory to say that you want to impose a form of non-hierarchial autogovernment.And by fighting you physicly impose your will on others.The struggle of anarchists is to reject non-legitimate authorities which are imposed on us. So you just can't think of imposing something yourself. You must convince people that this way -anarchism- is the best way to coexist in a society. They must be conscious and willing participants of social harmony or else they'll do it halfheartedly and incompetently. This transformation must come from our -you, us, them and me- general consentment and agreement that our world can be better and that we must all participate in it's creation.
This may seem a bit -love is in the air- pink pacifist universal love, but it is the only way something as big as social and harmonious coexistence can get to be. THis will not happen in ONE BIG NIGHT of rebellion but over many years of contestating illegitimate rulership and convincing the general population that anarchism is harmony of the people. To do that we'll have to get over our petty egos and our me, myself and I or my gang mentality. Don't forget that to get to true anarchism we must build, build, build.
Continue contesting, but inform and discuss. All the contesting will amount to nothing if there's no one to support your cause.
Against Manipulation
22 Apr 2001
First, it's possible for any organization to be infiltrated and manipulated. As a rule, only the state or powerful corporations have the resources to infiltrate radical groups effectively. So yes, the Black Block may be infiltrated and manipulated as you say. But it's even more likely that it ISN'T manipulated. Your view of the anti-globalization movement is one of a mass movement in favour of democratic social reform. The Black Block's view is one in favour of a mass revolutionary movement, equally democratic and violent out of necessity, not by preference. People who accuse the Black Block of being violent overlook the context of constant murderous state violence worldwide. The violence of the poor is counter-violence, always. Moreover the poor are always in a legitimate state of self-defence.

Mass democratic organizations that lobby the state for reforms have a vested interest in a respectable public image. If they don't have it no one will negotiate with them. So their practice obliges them to marginalize and discredit all those who by their actions make themselves a liability. This is why public protests have been reduced to the most vapid and domesticated level. They are skits acted out for the mass media.

The people who organize these skits tend to see the social movement as their property and activists as their subordinates. The Black Block will be trapped in "skit" logic if it acts for the media. What is more infiltrative and manipulative than the mass media? At its best the Black Block deliberately excluded journalists from areas where it was trashing corporate property in Seattle. They were immediately-and falsely-accused of being undemocratic by those same journalists, all of whom are professional manipulators in the service of the state.

I think the Black Block comrades reject the whole practice of deal-making with the evil fools who rule us. They want a direct unmediated attack on this system, and especially on its "normalcy". Reformists defend this normalcy, sometimes violently. You and your friends can't control the Black Block, and you feel threatened by that.

Annihilate Authority

Re: Black Block Perspective on Boston o3
03 Jun 2004
It's time to take direct action, to shake the corporate media icons. Fox, msnbc, cnbc, cnn, etc. Where are they geographically?